Archive for the ‘TV Appearances’ Category:

Wild Shetland: Scotland’s Viking Frontier – Behind the scenes

Posted by Brydon Thomason on Wednesday 23rd January 2019 | Brydon's Shetland Nature Blog, News, TV Appearances

Wild Shetland – Scotland’s Viking Frontier
BBC One Scotland – Wednesday 23rd January 2019, 9pm

For the last 12  years there hasn’t been a season go by that we haven’t worked on, or featured in TV productions about Shetland. We feel truly humbled by this and see it as a privilege which we do with genuine pride for Shetland, our way of life and especially our natural history.

But this one is really special. From the moment we first met with Maramedia producer, Jackie Savery, myself and Richard Shucksmith put our heart and souls in to help make the film be everything Shetlands wildlife deserved it to be! We were already well aware of their impressive portfolio of award winning films such as ‘Highlands – Scotland’s Wild Heart’ and ‘Hebrides – life on the edge’, we knew this would be the real deal.

The team we worked with were fantastic, making our jobs all the more enjoyable. Cameramen such as Raymond Besant, Justin Purefoy and Fergus Gill were not only exceptional behind the lens but true gents and better still, great craic too.

The whole team at Maramedia deserve a mention and high praise, from the researching through to the final edits as do Fraser Purdie for the music and indeed Ewan McGregor for the narration – bringing a touch of Hollywood to the production!

The whole film making process is fascinating and extremely emotive. Everyone gets on the same page and gives it their all. Each of us, with our respective areas of expertise collaborating and coming together with ideas and solutions to get the best out of every shoot.

As well as facilitating and advising on many aspects of the film, our main role was as otter consultants and field guides.  This was a dream assignment for us – to work on a family from their first few weeks of venturing out of their natal holt, through to the eventual family separation. We work on otters week in, week out throughout the seasons and especially for projects like these, need to know what they are doing, where and when.

It’s crucial we get the crew in the right place at the right time. But there is a balance between what the team might want; what will look good on screen, what’s possible – but most importantly, making sure the wildlife comes first – that is our primary responsibility.

It has to be said here that the Maramedia team were respectful of this at every stage and we were impressed by this from the outset. Many production companies want to push things, which never works with us but they have a very good and responsible understanding of this.

The standard of wildlife film making has moved on to an astonishing level in recent years through the combination of technology and indeed tenacity. Each new documentary series reaches new heights in how wildlife is filmed and brought to our screens and now, through this fantastic film Shetland will stand out like never before.

Many of the sequences shot are truly unique, never having been filmed in Britain before and I am especially pleased for Richard to have some incredible footage in the film as well as a stunning timelapse done by Rob Brookes. It was also great to have Shetland Seabird Tours involved for the Noss Gannet sequences.

This film is a beautiful, exciting and inspiring celebration of Shetland, its wildlife, cultural heritage and natural beauty. It is the result of many individuals and professionals committing whole heartedly to have made it what it is and we, like everyone involved are extremely proud – we hope it’s as much fun to watch as it was to make!

BBC Springwatch back on Shetland – 2018

Posted by Brydon Thomason on Wednesday 30th May 2018 | Brydon's Shetland Nature Blog, News, TV Appearances

BBC Springwatch were back again for their third time to share or wild secrets with the nation and once again, we were thrilled to be involved.

It was particularly exciting series for us working as otter consultants/guides as Josh Jaggard, on his fourth season working with us here worked as one of their main cameramen. It was pretty cool for myself and Richard Shucksmith to be out with him on that assignment, especially given that’s what each of us do for our clients.

Working together we managed to get some good footage over the few days, perhaps the best of it was Josh’s sequence of a dog and bitch mating! Quite unique behaviour to see in the field let alone film.

The bar was raised when the series producer Stuart Armstrong asked us, “do you think we could get otters on screen for the live show”? A challenge it might certainly be, the tides especially were not ideal but we pulled it off, regardless of how far off in the bay it was!

It was fascinating working on the live show. Intense and exciting with no room for error or the nation knows! But nonetheless, everyone knows their role and what needs done and just gets on with it – it’s what they do!

As always the team and everyone we met were really good to work with, particularly Stuart and the presenter Gillian and Gretta the assistant producer.

I was really surprised to be asked to do a piece to camera about my my love for Birding my local patch, Halligarth right next door to our home. As the most northerly woodland in UK, amidst such a diversity of treeless habitat, annually attracting many exciting migrants it did actually make a nice feature. It turned out to make pretty cool short film and although never a massive fan of onscreen appearances, I was really pleased they pursued the idea – especially as I managed to get the whole family to appear on screen with me, all be it briefly!

Shetlands otters featuring on ‘Grand Tour of The Scottish Islands’

Posted by Brydon Thomason on Tuesday 13th October 2015 | News, Otters, TV Appearances

There is literally not a year that passes that The Shetland Islands are not featured on television networks throughout the United Kingdom and beyond. Regularly featuring on many of these and helping to promote how special Shetland is is something we are always very proud of indeed.

Having already worked with the BBC Springwatch crew earlier this year we were delighted to be approached by BBC Scotland to work with the Grand Tour of The Scottish Islands film crew to feature otters on their program. Overall the show was really good and showed an interesting diversity of life on the isles, made more so especially by Cheryl Jamieson of Glansing Glass, Andrew Magnie Thomson, Rhoda Hughson and Les and Joanne on Fetlar.

To watch the program on BBC  iPlayer you can view here or you can see the short piece posted by BBC Scotland of us with the otters here.

Grand Tour of Scotish Islands crew

The crew were really fantastic to work with; presenter Paul Murton, producer Kathryn Ross, cameraman Richard Cook and sound man Richard Paterson. As well as being really on the ball they were also great fun which helped phase the on-camera tension I always get when being filmed! On the day I was joined by Josh Jaggard which was a real bonus, having his sharp eyes helped to keep track of the family whilst we were filming, which relieved at least some of the pressure and help us get the footage we did.

We were thrilled to spend the several hours with a mother and her two cubs, throughout which enjoyed some really lovely behaviour from affectionate family group huddles to action packed foraging and feeding sessions.

With the weather in our favour, the otters performing and a thoroughly successful shoot, we couldn’t have asked for more.  Read more about the otter tours we do here.

More from the BBC’s popular ‘Grand Tour of The Scottish Islands’ here.

Paul and Brydon

Alison Steadman’s Shetland

Posted by Brydon Thomason on Friday 20th June 2014 | News, TV Appearances

When establishing Shetland Nature there were few greater motivations or inspirations than communicating my passion for Shetland and its natural heritage. For me personally and for the many individuals that I am fortunate to work and collaborate with, sharing our knowledge and love for Shetland’s wildlife with guests from all over the world is as rewarding as it is exciting.

On a similar level communication of this passion is perhaps even more exiting ‘on screen’ when approached to work on TV documentaries featuring Shetland such as Countryfile, Simon King’s Diaries, Martin Clunnes British Islands and a few others. Even though I have yet to overcome the preliminary nerves and anxieties when in front of a camera (even a microphone!), working with a film crew and helping to promote Shetland to the nation (and beyond) is always really great fun and something I am always proud to be part of. It was with all this in mind that I was delighted to work with Alison Steadman and the crew back in April on ITV 1’s ‘Alison Steadman’s Shetland’, to broadcast on Tuesday evening on the 24th June on ITV at 21:00.

Well known British actress Alison Steadman, (often described as a national treasure) was great fun to work with and although it is perhaps appropriate to say that the elements were at times ‘unkind’ to us, she really seemed to enjoy her time with us and her stay at The Shetland Nature Lodge, which we were thrilled that the crew chose as their base for their four days on Unst. The crew too simply couldn’t have been better to work with who made it all the more enjoyable for myself and good friend and colleague Richard Shucksmith, who also did some work with them.

Perhaps not surprisingly it was Otters (my lifelong obsession of!) and also my background as a native Shetlander that brought them to me initially. The producer Scott Tankard was also intrigued and excited by the kind of work I did with the hides I build and so it was great to feature that element of the work I do as well.

Fortunately on the one day they had to do Otters out of the three I worked with them, I did find them otters in the morning and evening even though tides and time were stacked against us. I have my fingers crossed that the next film crew we work with ask for the best window when tides are best, which would take away at least a little bit of the preasure!

We hope it comes across on screen as much fun as it was to shoot…

BBC1’s Countryfile on Shetland

Posted by Brydon Thomason on Friday 12th July 2013 | News, TV Appearances

Tune into BBC1’s Countryfile this Sunday the 14th July if you want to top up with a taste of Shetland…

It was great to be asked to help out and feature on the programme and I was delighted to be involved. I was especially proud, (though quite nervous on screen!), as the lead story was Fetlar, in particular the project being carried out by RSPB on the islands Red-necked Phalaropes by fitting geo-locaters to determine where these beautiful birds winter, amongst other data the devices may reveal.

They filmed me talking to presenter Ellie Harrison about growing up on the island, my passion for nature and in particular my love of Otters throughout Shetland. Although they were not able to be out and work through the time I suggested as the best time for finding Otters and their time was limited, we did manage an encounter and it was nice to talk a little about them.

The Phalaropes performed wonderfully too, which was the icing on the cake for them and tied in fantastically with local RSPB warden Malcie Smith’s guidance, who few could match when it comes to knowing these delightful little Arctic wading birds.

The crew were fantastic to work with and it was an exciting and enjoyable day all round – we were immensely lucky with the weather, beautiful blue skies with not a cloud in sight, good banter and some good encounters!

Another summer with Simon King

Posted by Brydon Thomason on Monday 16th August 2010 | News, TV Appearances

Following the massively popular ‘Shetland Diaries’, Simon was once again in the Isles this summer. This year he has been commissioned by ‘Promote Shetland’ (Shetland’s official tourism promotions team) to put together a TV commercial. Once again we were delighted to be chosen by Simon to work with him throughout his ten-day trip in July.

It was particularly exciting to ‘fill in’ as his camera man for various shoots and indeed quite gratifying to see how useful our local knowledge and contacts were to help pull things together where ever and when ever it was needed.

Simon King’s Shetland Diaries

Posted by Brydon Thomason on Saturday 20th February 2010 | News, TV Appearances

If you were not fortunate enough to have seen Simon King’s fantastic three part series which finished this week, we would very much recommend viewing it on BBC iPlayer. It was with out doubt the best TV documentary to feature Shetland in recent years, maybe ever! It was a huge privilege to have been involved right from the start and even more so to have made an appearance on screen.

Watch Simon King’s Shetland Diaries on BBC iPlayer (available until February 25th):

Boat trip with Simon King

Posted by Brydon Thomason on Saturday 30th January 2010 | News, Sea Mammals in Shetland, TV Appearances

Brydon with Simon

Over the past two summers we have been working closely with Simon King and his team helping towards the forthcoming documentary on Simon’s love affair for the Shetland Isles.

As well as keeping Simon and his team up to date with regular sightings and updates from around the Isles, our local knowledge has played a continual role in much of the research and also filming.

Searching for Killer whales

Following a very successful attempt along with the North Atlantic Killer Whale ID team at locating the herring feeding Orca off- shore, we set out with Simon and co eager to film a feeding frenzy.

Although a prolonged search (again working in close association with Andy Foote and Volker Deeke of the Killer Whale ID team) did not result in locating the Orca, the day out was far from a fruitless.

White Sided Dolphins

Some four or five miles North of Muckle Flugga (the Northernmost tip of Unst) Brydon and Vaila managed to spot a distant feeding frenzy of thousands of Gannets. Knowing all too well that whatever food source would attract such a mêlée of feeding seabirds would also very likely attract cetaceans, as indeed it had, some way up to, (or perhaps over) 1,000 White-sided dolphins – potentially the largest super pod ever recorded off Shetland.

The atmosphere was electric, with dolphins breaking the surface quite literally as far as the eye could see and the sky filled with gregarious gannets piercing into the ocean like arrows all around us. A just reward for our efforts indeed.